The Marlins are another rebuilding team with not much in the way of major league talent, and are likely looking at another 90-to-100 loss season next year. Still, they’ve been linked to some reasonably coveted players on the free-agent market, and will also be looking at some buy-low targets.
Expected Direction: Still Stuck In The Rebuilding Phase
Marlins Aquire INF Jonathan Villar From Orioles
Full Trade: Marlins Acquire INF Jonathan Villar From Orioles In Exchange For LHP Easton Lucas
In a slightly surprising move, the Marlins have opted to add an impact player, acquiring Jonathan Villar from the Orioles in exchange for recent 14th round pick Easton Lucas. Villar, posted a solid 107 wrc+ and 4.0 WAR last season, which were career highs for him. That’s not likely to sustain with just a .313 expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA), however, as he only had a 29% hard contact rate and lucked out with a .341. On the contrary, there’s always the chance he can continue this production into the beginning of next season, and if that happens, Miami will get a much better prospect than the 23-year-old Lucas. Either way, the $10 million the Marlins will pay Villar in arbitration is only a slight overpay for a versatile veteran infielder on a team with a lot of financial wiggle-room.
Marlins Sign RP Yimi Garcia
Contract Details: One Year MLB Contract
Hoping to find steals on the relief pitcher market like last offseason, the Marlins have made their first in what should be a few reliever signings, inking recently non-tendered reliever Yimi Garcia on a one-year major contract; Garcia can be controlled through 2021. The 29-year-old has been a generally below-average reliever with xFIPs of 4.71 and 4.90, respectively, in 2018 and 2019 (84.2 combined innings), but on the bright side, he has strong K-BB numbers, which gave him a skill interactive ERA (SIERA) of 3.76. On the downside, his batting average balls in play allowed of .171 was extremely lucky, but then again, his 16.9% HR-FB rate is as well. It’s a decent depth signing for the Marlins, who should be getting a competent reliever to eat some innings out of their bullpen in what will surely be an extremely cheap deal once the financials are revealed.
Marlins Sign C Francisco Cervelli
Contract Details: One Year, $2 Million
Adding a veteran backup catcher for Jorge Alfaro, the Marlins have signed Francisco Cervelli to a one-year deal for $2 million. After a strong four seasons in Pittsburgh, the 33-year-old Cervelli fell flat with the Pirates and Braves last season, as he only played in 48 games as he dealt with concussions. Plus, it didn’t help that he posted just a 73 weighted-runs-created plus (wrc+), and demonstrated zero power. Still, he tends to post solid on-base percentages for catchers, and for the first time in his career, graded out as a decent defensive catcher. At this point in his career, Cervelli is definitely a backup. Still, for a young Marlins team, he’ll be a nice leader, and also will be useful as a depth piece.
Marlins Sign OF Corey Dickerson
Contract Details: Two Years, $17.5 Million
Once again proving that they’re committed to putting a better product on the field next season, the Marlins have signed outfielder Corey Dickerson to a two-year contract worth $17.5 million. Dickerson, 30, has been a relatively consistent player over the past three seasons; after posting two straight fWARs in the high twos in 2017 and 2018, he had a 1.0 fWAR in about half a season last season between the Pirates and Phillies. Now, the 127 wrc+ that he posted last season probably isn’t legitimate, his expected statistics have been constantly been below his actual numbers, and he has zero plate discipline, but you could do far worse than Dickerson. It’s unclear whether or not he’s a good defender given the inconsistency with his defensive metrics, but either way, Miami should be getting roughly a 2 fWAR player for the next two seasons, which would be worth it by the standards that a one-win player is worth $5 million, and so on. Now, this isn’t the steal that many are claiming it to be for them, but it’s a fair deal for the former 260th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Marlins Sign RP Brandon Kintzler
Contract Details: One Year, $3.25 Million ($4 Million Club Option 2021)
There’s such an abundance of veteran relievers on the open market, that rebuilding teams have been able to guarantee some of them the type of opportunities and finances that contenders can’t. That fits here, as the Marlins have signed reliever Brandon Kintzler to a one-year, $3.25 million deal, with a $4 million club option for 2021. The 35-year-old was pretty reliable for the Cubs last season, posting a 4.06 xFIP and 3.81 SIERA, and immediately is one of Miami’s best relievers. Plus, even though he allowed a decent amount of hard contact, he also continued to induce ground balls at an impressive rate (54.7%), and by throwing his changeup more, he was able to increase his strikeout rate (7.58 K/9). He provides the Marlins with a strong option at the back-end of their bullpen, and should he pitch to his capabilities, he’ll be a nice midseason trade chip for them, or can be brought back at a very affordable rate on that club option. This is money well spent, to say the least.
Marlins Sign OF Matt Joyce
Contract Details: One Year, MLB Contract
In yet another move to bring in a veteran player, the Marlins have signed outfielder Matt Joyce to a one-year MLB contract. Joyce, 35, has had a very strange career, which has been full of inconsistency. After catching on with the Braves, however, he was very productive, posting a 1.2 WAR and 128 wrc+ as a bench player for them. Joyce is essentially a platoon player at this point, but he does his part by mashing righties, and his defense has been at least average. He probably won’t post a 128 wrc+ again, but he did make improvements to his launch angle and walk rate, so he’s certainly an above-average hitter. Whether he starts versus righties or is strictly a bench player, he’s a nice addition for a Marlins team that has been very active this offseason.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Marlins Make